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Pleasant Valley nature trail to be renamed in honor of Murrysville outdoors enthusiast

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Submitted photo
Brien Palmer

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By David Paulk
Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The natural world was Brien Palmer's stomping grounds.

Palmer, who died at age 60 on March 15, spent much of his time tending to the parks and trails of Murrysville. Family members got permission last week to memorialize his love for the outdoors by renaming Horn Beam Trail at Pleasant Valley Park in his honor.

Murrysville Council approved the request on July 24. The 0.86-mile trail winds through the 262-acre park's woods. Pleasant Valley, one of nine parks in Murrysville, was one of Palmer's favorites.

“I just kind of walked the trails to find the trail where I felt his spirit the most,” said Kate Codd-Palmer, Palmer's wife of 23 years.

She said her husband fell in love with the outdoors, venturing into the woods before trails were established.

“His heart and soul was in nature,” she said. “Even as a boy, he enjoyed walking where there were no trails.”

Betsy Aiken, chairwoman of the Murrysville Trail Alliance, said the plan is to highlights Palmer's contributions to the environment.

“He enjoyed the outdoors tremendously,” Aiken said. “He was a very active citizen and involved in the community.“

Aiken said the plan was set in motion when Kate Codd-Palmer attended the July 9 Murrysville Parks and Recreation Committee meeting and asked the committee to rename the trail after her husband.

Aiken worked alongside Brien Palmer in leading the trail alliance, an organization that promotes trail-based recreation in the municipality. Palmer was vice-chairman of the group.

“He was committed to green causes,” Aiken said.

Murrysville Parks and Recreation director Robert Hunter said renaming a trail is unusual in Pleasant Valley. Typically, people seek to memorializes loved ones with names on sports fields, pavilions, and benches, he said.

“There's a whole list of things you can put naming rights on,” Hunter said.

Applying naming rights to park property costs $1,000 per tenth of a mile for trails, said Hunter. It will cost the Palmer family $8,600.

David Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5804 or

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